Why Tai Chi is not Frosé

Updated: Oct 10

Tai Chi Chuen is like a fine wine, crafted by a master and aged to perfection. It is smooth and bold with subtle flavors and aromas that enchant the senses. It can definitely f**k you up, but to slam it for that reason is to lose its subtle delicacy and the beauty of the winemaker’s skill.

If your only purpose is to get hammered then a standard, not so fine table wine will do just nicely. It’s palatable and it will get the job done. The people who made it are not exactly experts but they won’t poison you either. There is no shame in having a glass of this with dinner but you probably won’t break it out as a main attraction and you won't pay good money for it. It is fine for everyday drinking and if it fits your budget then it's the right wine for you.

This is Jimmy’s toilet bowl wine brewed in his prison cell. Maybe, if you are lucky, Jimmy read a book or watched some videos on wine making or someone showed him how one time. He knows nothing of the subtleties and he has not tested his wine for purity and is not too concerned with flavor. It is as likely to make you sick as it is to make you feel good. Calling it wine is a bit of a stretch, booze or moonshine would be more appropriate.

It takes a minimum of three years to be a qualified wine maker. Jimmy is definitely not qualified.

This is frosé (short for frozen rose). It’s about one part cheap wine, one part sugar syrup and two parts frozen water. It’s made in a slushy machine and it is delicious plus it’s served with this adorable little straw and fruit garnish thingy. It’s a good time with the girls, but it’s not wine and it probably won't make you drunk. Most of the so-called Tai Chi we have been exposed to in the West is to Tai Chi Chuen what frosé is to wine. There is very little of the original spirit left in it and the real flavor and subtleties have all been covered up by sugar water. It is a lot more palatable to the unsophisticated and therefore an easy gimmick to sell.

Now if you have only tried frosé or Jimmy’s toilet wine and think that that is what wine is, you might be excused for thinking that wine isn’t really your thing. But, you might want to consider giving the good or at least average stuff a try before dismissing the entire wine industry as a waste of time.

If you think back to when you were a teenager and you snuck your first sip of wine, or maybe an adult let you try theirs, you may remember scrunching up your face in disgust and confusion. But perhaps as time went on you tried wine again, maybe when you were more mature, maybe with an expert who knew what was good and what was best left on the bottom shelf at the grocery store. Perhaps you acquired a taste for it by starting with the sweet stuff and when you had your first hangover gradually transitioned to something more sophisticated. The point is, if you only ever had one sip of wine and judged all wine by that metric you would be missing out on a vast bouquet of pleasure. Not to mention the health benefits of enjoying a glass of wine a day.

For every barrel of wine crafted by a true master there are hundreds of barrels of store brand wine ranging from mediocre to decent. For every store brand there are hundreds of batches of Jimmy's and frosé. You don’t necessarily have to travel to France to get a masterful wine and there is bad wine everywhere, even in France. Sample more than one and give it time to grow on you. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t mistake frosé or Jimmy’s for wine.

Note: This analogy can be used for many other ancient arts and practices that are commercially sold today. See my post about how to choose the right Tai Chi teacher

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